Anger over decision to buy new headquarters

Surveyors House  at Cramlington.'REF 0109147943
Surveyors House at Cramlington.'REF 0109147943
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Questions have been raised over a council’s decision to spend more than £300,000 on a new headquarters which will not hold meetings.

Cramlington Town Council has secured an option to buy Surveyor’s House in Cramlington Village subject to planning permission being approved.

The council had been looking for a new headquarters after being told to vacate its current premises in Concordia Leisure Centre.

A deal has been struck to rent the property for 12 months with an option to buy, although no council meetings will be held there.

But Conservative members have hit out at the decision by the Labour group, saying it is a “vanity project”.

Coun Wayne Daley said: “It angers me that even when this site is bought, that the council admit they will have to hold meetings with the public in other locations as the house isn’t suitable to accommodate the large number of people who attend.”

Fellow councillor Barry Flux added: “After increasing the town tax earlier this year by 156 per cent for every resident, they are now going to load a massive amount of debt with a luxury home purchase for councillors.”

A council spokesperson said: “The purchase represents a long term prudent investment for Cramlington.

“Current office rental values in the town centre would commit the council to costs in excess of £40,000 a year.

“The cost of the public sector loan will be significantly less than renting in the town centre and the council will have acquired an asset which will increase in value.”

Full council meetings will not be held in the Surveyor’s House but at locations within the town centre and possibly around the town, but there will be a meeting room suitable for smaller committees and working groups.